Author Salman Rushdie poses for a photo in Los Angeles. — AFP/File


Author Salman Rushdie poses for a photo in Los Angeles. — AFP/File

NEW YORK: British author Salman Rushdie, whose blasphemous writings made him the target of death threats and led him to live in hiding, was attacked on stage Friday in western New York state.

Video footage posted on social media showed people rushing to his aid after he was attacked at the event in Chautauqua County, with police confirming a stabbing while declining to immediately identify the victim.

Chautauqua County Sheriff’s office said “we can confirm there was a stabbing,” without giving further details.

Rushdie’s condition was not immediately known.

The author, now 75, was propelled into the spotlight with his second novel “Midnight’s Children” in 1981, which won international praise and Britain’s prestigious Booker Prize for its portrayal of post-independence India.

His controversial 1988 book “The Satanic Verses”  sparked a fatwa, or religious decree, leading to death threats. The novel was considered by Muslims as disrespectful of the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH).

A decade in hiding

He was granted police protection by the government in Britain, where he was at school and where he made his home, following the murder or attempted murder of his translators and publishers. He spent nearly a decade in hiding.

Rushdie only began to emerge from his life on the run in the late 1990s after Iran in 1998 said it would not support his assassination.

Threats and boycotts continue against literary events that Rushdie attends, and his knighthood in 2007 sparked protests in Iran and Pakistan.



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